The difference between Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts is the Cubs were so good in 2016 that they were able to overcome Maddon's bullpen management during the NLCS and World Series.

The Dodgers were not as fortunate in 2017.

Once Roberts set in motion a chain of events -- with the early removal of Rich Hill in Game 2 -- it took apart his bullpen and not only cost him Game 2, but almost certainly Game 5 as well.

There are only so many outs in an arm and Roberts asked too much, something A.J. Hinch didn't do. The Astros manager stuck with effective pitchers because outs are precious in the postseason.

That was why the Astros had a parade Friday and the Dodgers cleaned out their lockers.

But rare is the time you'll hear a major-league manager admit a mistake.

They were just following the script decided hours before the game, just following a strategy put in place hours before a single player had taken the field.

And then there's Joe Girardi, recently let go by the Yankees for reasons that defy logic, especially with a young team that came within a game of reaching the World Series, a team on the verge of greatness.

Girardi is 12 wins from 1,000 and 64th all time after a great run with the Yankees that left him fifth in team history in wins and games managed behind four Hall of Famers named Joe McCarthy, Joe Torre, Casey Stengel and Miller Huggins.

Girardi is different. He is human and flawed and when he makes a mistake he admits it to everyone, including a New York media that devours humility.

After the debacle in Cleveland during Game 2 of the ALDS, when Girardi failed to ask for a replay of a hit by pitch that wasn't, his team was down 0-2 in a best-of-five and Girardi wore it.


"I take responsibility for everything, and I feel horrible about it,' Girardi said. "I screwed up … and it's hard. It's a hard day for me. But I have to move forward."

As for whether he got the right answer from his replay assistant in that situation, Girardi said, "I take full responsibility. It's not (anyone else's) fault. It's my fault."

When the Yankees returned home, Girardi was booed every time he stepped out of the dugout.

"I kind of expected it," he said. "I've seen them boo players and managers that have a lot more status than I do, so I was prepared for it.

"I prepared my family for it. I told my kids what was going to happen. But it's life and it's not going to change who I am.

"It's no fun to be booed, but our fans are passionate and they want to win, and they get upset when we don't win or when someone makes a mistake.

"So that's all part of it.

"But you get the good side of it, too, like the emotion. That's the trade-off."

Just a humble kid from Peoria who truly believes deeply in his family and faith, Girardi did not allow his pain to affect his ballclub.

"This is life. This is what happens in life," Girardi said. "It happens in the game as a player. It happens as a manager. It's happened before. It happens at home with your wife and your children.

"Everything you do is not going to be perfect. I'm always going to do my best. And that's what I do. But it's not always going to be perfect."

The Yankees came back and won the next three games to advance to the ALCS.

"I've always taken responsibility for losses and I take them hard, too. The guys know that," Girardi said. "We've had our backs, each other's backs, all year long."

Players are not stupid. They are asked every day to take responsibility for their mistakes, and most do precisely that.

Cody Bellinger answered every question during the World Series, even after Game 7 when he struck out three times to set a postseason record with 29, and a World Series record with 17.

He killed rally after rally in Game 7, but he stood up and took responsibility, even when he didn't have an answer for what had happened to his thunderous bat.

When managers don't do the same, it has an effect on players. They don't expect it, but they are keenly aware of it.

They know when a manager screws up, even if he won't admit it.

In that, and so many other ways, Joe Girardi is just different.

He's human.

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.